There’s something about buying a new leather handbag that makes it one of the most rewarding forms of retail therapy. The new and almost car-like smell, the rich and smooth texture, the firm shape, and the sturdy handles make leather bags of any size a coveted staple in every woman’s (and man’s) accessory closet. When you finally bite the bullet and splurge on such a bag, you NEED to know how to clean it properly to fully reap the bag’s beauty for as long as possible. To avoid having a mini heart attack when your Louis Vuitton leather tote starts to get worn or scuffed, check out how to make it look brand spankin’ new without ruining it.
To start, take everything out of the bag. Now, take deep breaths, because you’re going to have to put…dare we say it…water on your bag. Water and leather go together like Tom and Jerry, but don’t freak out—warm water combined with hand soap or dish soap can do wonders for your leather bag. Put these two magic ingredients together in a bowl or in your sink. Use a soft cloth to gently rub this combination over the leather. Don’t use too much water or else it could stain the handbag. Keep the cloth slightly damp, but not dripping. Some people have even attested to successfully DIPPING their entire handbag into the warm soap and water combo, but that seems way too anxiety-inducing.
Pro tip: if your bag does happen to get water stains, like from rain, let it dry naturally. Don’t use any heat, like a hairdryer, to speed up the process, according to The Leather Satchel Co.
DO NOT use any at-home products, like vinegar or any intense cleaning products on your leather. These have chemicals that can damage your beloved bag, according to Cosmopolitan. If you need to get a stain out of your handbag, treat it ASAP. The longer you wait and the longer it sits there, the more likely it’s a lost cause or you’ll have to get it professionally taken care of. Different types of stains require different products to dispel the emergency at hand. For ink stains, use rubbing alcohol. But, test it out beforehand on a tiny, itty bitty, absolutely minuscule piece of the bag before working your way to to the actual stain to see how the leather reacts. For grease or oil stains, apparently there’s no better remedy than corn starch, according to Our Everyday Life. Lather it right on the stain, let it sit for a few hours, and voilà—good as new.
To seal in the fresh new clean on your bag, buy a leather conditioner and water protectant spray. You can find most for pretty reasonable prices, and you can use them on all your leather goods. Spraying your bag after cleaning it makes sure no pieces of dust or dirt can interfere with the beauty of the bag once it’s sealed. However, sprays aren’t permanent, and you still need to religiously clean your bag every few months. Try to keep it in its dust bag when you’re not using it.